Yet out of the wizardry of the television tube has come such an assault against the human mind, such a mobilized attack on the imagination, sucn an invasion against good taste as no other communications medium has ever known, not excepting the motion picture or radio itself ..... Since television has been on an assembly-line basis, there has been mass-produced a series of plodding stereotypes and low-quality programs. Behind it all, apparently , is a grinding lack of imagination and originality which has resulted in the standardized television formula for an evening's entertainment: a poisoning, a variety show, a wrestling match.In the US in 1949 there were about 2 million TV sets (nearly 720,000 in New York alone) for a population of nearly 250 million people. See also Wikipedia's 1949 in television.
Norman Cousins, Saturday Review of Literature, Dec. 24, 1949 [I found this excerpted in the book Television and Radio in American Life, Herbert L. Marx, Jr. ed., 1953, p. 70 ]
Norman Cousins was a renowned liberal journalist, but the book has TV-bashing from a paleoconservative, too.